The news: Think your state has the worst drivers? New York has crazy taxi drivers. California has coked-up movie stars in Lamborghinis. Florida has residents.
Now, thanks to CarInsuranceComparison.com, we can all know whether or not our biases against drivers from various states are accurate, and just why Florida is still allowed to issue drivers' licenses - essentially the power of life and death - to people who willingly choose to live there. As it turns out, the results are surprising. The states with the best and worst drivers are below:
Darker blue indicates worse driving.
As you can see, the state with the worst drivers is not Florida. This dubious honor goes to Louisiana, the crashed-into-the-Bayou State. Finishing in the worst five states for failure to obey, ticketing rate, and careless driving, Louisiana is the worst-driving state for the second time in a row.
The survey compiled five categories: fatality rates, failure to obey, drunk driving, tickets, and careless driving. Adding these rankings together, they came up with a combined aggregate score which they used to determine which states were the best and worst at the fine art of not smashing your Ford Focus into a birdhouse. Here's the bottom ten, in order:
Why? Everything, and the fact that you can buy drive-through daquiris can't help.
2. South Carolina
Why? Careless and drunk driving.
Why? Major increases in failure to obey and drunk driving.
Why? Texas has actually improved its rankings, or rather, the other states are getting worse. The state's drunk driving ranking, however, plunged from 36 to 47, perhaps on news that Rick Perry is still thinking about another presidential run.
Why? Careless driving, like skeet-shooting out of the window of your Ford. (This may be correlated to Alabama's status as number 49 in tickets.)
Why? Have you ever been to Florida? The Sunshine State ruled in as the worst state for careless driving, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's driven up Alligator Alley.
Why? Failure to obey violations were Missouri's downfall this year, though it's significantly improved from the state's previous number two finish. But it tied for seventh and eigth this year for North Carolina ...
8. North Carolina
Why? This state has made big strides in getting ticketed and driving carelessly, bringing it five points higher than its previous number 13 position.
Why? Worst fatality rate per hundred million miles in the nation (you are more likely to die driving in Montana than any other state, including Florida), and significant increases in drunk driving.
10. North Dakota
Why? Increases in their fatality and drunk driving rates have sent North Dakota down three places since the last edition.
And here were the states with the best drivers:
49. New Hampshire
44. District of Columbia
As HighGear's Richard Read writes, it's pretty hard not to notice the worst states tend to have something in common: they're Southern. But it's also pretty hard to make any judgements about what causes those unsafe driving practices without diving deeper into the data. (Not to mention it's hard to tell whether or not the study is accurate; this is hardly a strongly-designed methodology.) So be hesitant before drawing too many conclusions.